If your partner is pregnant, you might be searching for ways to help and support them. One of the best ideas is to improve your relationship in general.
Research shows high-quality romantic relationships can have a positive impact on pregnancy. Unfortunately, low-quality bonds can have the opposite effect—possibly putting you and your baby more at risk for mental or physical health issues.
In this guide, we’re covering 7 ways to support a pregnant wife or partner by improving your relationship.
Why Support Pregnant Wife or Partner?
Having a good relationship makes everyday life easier. But the reasons for strengthening your connection go beyond just that.
Here are the benefits to improving your relationship during pregnancy.
Support May Mean Less Depression and Better Outcomes
Research shows that social support is critical during pregnancy. One study showed that those who had lower support had more depressive symptoms and reduced quality of life while expecting. Others show that a strong social circle may make you less at risk for postpartum depression. Moreover, those with more prenatal support had babies who appeared healthier. Social support goes beyond your partner, but it’s a good start since they’re likely the person closest or most available.
May Improve Maternal and Infant Well-Being
Research shows that when a woman has a high-quality, supportive partner, it may contribute to her and their baby’s well-being postpartum. The authors concluded that focusing on partner relationships could play an important role in mental health solutions. In other words, a connected family could mean better health for the baby.
May Reduce Infectious Diseases in Pregnancy
Interestingly, a 2015 Norwegian study found that higher relationship satisfaction predicted a lower risk for infectious diseases. Those with the lowest relationship satisfaction had about twice as many infectious diseases as the highest satisfied couples. More studies need to be done before we understand this association.
Father’s Relationship Stress May Impact Baby Too
Research has shown a mother’s stress may impact a baby. However, a fathers may influence your child too. A set of three studies concluded that a father’s experiences during pregnancy matter to a baby’s health. One study found that paternal relationship conflict was associated with lower gestational age in all couples and lower birth weight among unmarried ones.
7 Ways to Support Pregnant Wife or Partner By Improving Relationship
There’s many ways to support a pregnant wife or partner. As we outlined above, research says one way is by improving your relationship. Here’s how to do that.
#1 Understand Pregnancy Hormones
Understand that your pregnant partner is and will continue to go through many changes. First, her hormones will fluctuate, which could lead to a change in her emotions. Some women report experiencing pregnancy mood swings. This is completely normal.
If you notice that your partner’s emotions are fluctuating, communicate from a place of understanding rather than judgment. When the situation is escalating, consider stepping out to cool down before things get worse.
Hormone changes can also make your partner feel more anxious. They might doubt how you’ll change and they may feel vulnerable or worried about the state of the relationship. If this happens, give your partner reassurance. If you need some reassuring phrases to get started, read 20 Things to Tell Your S.O. More Often.
#2 Be Open with How You Feel
Your partner is the one going through the physical changes but you might also be going through some mental changes too. Since your life is also changing, it’s normal to feel anxious or doubtful.
Talk to your pregnant partner. Don’t try to overshine their anxieties, but be open with how you feel in a gentle, kind way.
#3 Learn Your Partner’s Love Language
The 5 Love Languages is a book by Gary Chapman. In it, he proposes a theory that people receive love in five different main ways:
- Words of Affirmation– Praise, words of appreciation, kind words or encouragement. Includes spoken words, notes, texts, etc.
- Quality Time– Getting someone’s full attention without any distractions (like phones, work, TV, etc.)
- Physical Touch– Physical affection like hugs, kisses, cuddling, sex, holding hands, massages, etc.
- Acts of Service– Helping someone by doing practical things (i.e. putting gas in their car or helping them on a project, etc.)
- Receiving Gifts– Receiving thoughtful gifts, including random flowers or small “this made me think of you” finds.
To find your partner’s love language, you might consider what they seem to appreciate most. Another option is to take the Love Languages Couple Quiz.
Once you know your partner’s main love languages, you can improve your relationship by doing things that fall into that category. This is a great way to support a pregnant wife or partner in a way that’s valuable to them.
#4 Use a Heartbeat Monitor Together
For the partner who isn’t pregnant, the baby might not feel real yet. One way a father can bond with the baby before birth is by using a fetal doppler heartbeat monitor.
A fetal doppler is a handheld device that you can use at home. It works similar to an ultrasound and allows you to hear your baby’s heartbeat from home.
BabyDoppler’s devices come with a free sample of ultrasound gel to spread over your partner’s belly. After the device is turned on, move the probe until you detect your baby. You can also use our app to record the experience to share with others.
This magical experience can help parents bond by introducing them to their baby before birth. It’s an especially good idea if you want to support your pregnant partner but can’t be there for prenatal appointments.
Get Your Fetal Doppler Heartbeat Monitor
#5 Show Interest
A common complaint among pregnant women is that their partners don’t seem interested. Their body is going through changes, they’re attending appointments, prenatal classes and starting baby shopping. It can be frustrating when that effort is met with disinterest by the father-to-be.
If you’re the non-pregnant partner, understand your partner is experiencing the pregnancy. They might be excited and talking about the baby all the time. Have the conversations and do the baby things, even if it doesn’t feel real yet. It will mean a lot to your partner.
Here’s a few ways to show interest in their journey:
- Try to be present at their appointments when possible
- If you can’t make appointments, ask how they went
- If she mentions a symptom, ask later how’s she’s doing
- If you can do something to alleviate a pregnancy symptom, do it (ex. back massage)
- Engage in pregnancy-related activities she suggests
- Show her you’re preparing for parenthood by reading or researching
#6 Plan a Date
It sounds simple, but a good way to improve any relationship is to put time and effort into it.
You can support a pregnant wife or partner by showing her she’s secure in your romantic connection. Plan a date that you know she’ll enjoy or find relaxing. If she’s craving a night out, take her on a fancy date. If she’d prefer to be home, arrange to pamper her by giving her a deep tissue massage.
Dates also give you a break from “baby talk,” allowing you to focus on each other.
As often as you can during pregnancy, try to make time for your partner. You might be busy now, but you’ll be even busier once the baby arrives, so squeeze in extra dates now.
Read these 22 Date Ideas While Pregnant.
#7 Communicate Sexual Changes
Pregnancy hormones also change a woman’s sex drive. While expecting, some people want to have more sex while others feel like abstaining altogether. For many, their libido fluctuates throughout their journey.
Along with this, different things may feel good or bad. A position your partner found sexually pleasing before might be uncomfortable now. All of these changes are hard to guess. The only way to know is to ask and read your partner’s body language.
Communicate with your pregnant partner about sex. Do they want to have it more or less? What feels good or bad now? Some women also report feeling self-conscious because of their pregnancy weight, which can be helpful for a partner to know so they can provide reassurance.
Talking about sex during pregnancy can help avoid misunderstandings.
Support a Pregnant Wife or Partner by Improving the Relationship
There’s many ways you can support a pregnant wife or partner. One main way is by improving your relationship with each other.
Research is stacked with reasons for strengthening bonds during pregnancy. Not only can it make your pregnant partner happier, but it may also improve the well-being and heath of your baby. You can better your relationship by understanding pregnancy hormones, having open communication about the baby and about sex and by doing bonding activities together.